The Purchase Of This Tremendous Slice Of Territory Could
Not Be Complete Without An Approval Of The Bargain By
The United States Senate.
Great opposition to this was
immediately excited by people in various parts of the Union,
especially in New England, where there was a very bitter feeling
against the prime mover in this business, - Thomas Jefferson,
then President of the United States.
The scheme was
ridiculed by persons who insisted that the region was not
only wild and unexplored, but uninhabitable and worthless.
They derided "The Jefferson Purchase," as they called it,
as a useless piece of extravagance and folly; and, in addition
to its being a foolish bargain, it was urged that President Jefferson
had no right, under the constitution of the United States,
to add any territory to the area of the Republic.
Nevertheless, a majority of the people were in favor of the purchase,
and the bargain was duly approved by the United States Senate; that body,
July 31, 1803, just three months after the execution of the treaty of cession,
formally ratified the important agreement between the two governments.
The dominion of the United States was now extended across the entire continent
of North America, reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Territory
of Oregon was already ours.
This momentous transfer took place one hundred years ago, when almost
nothing was known of the region so summarily handed from the government
of France to the government of the American Republic. Few white men
had ever traversed those trackless plains, or scaled the frowning
ranges of mountains that barred the way across the continent.
There were living in the fastnesses of the mysterious interior
of the Louisiana Purchase many tribes of Indians who had never looked
in the face of the white man.
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